gearing up

The other day, friend Erin helped me fit new panniers to my bike and perform some basic maintenance.  Everything is almost a go for my Alaska Adventure, which begins Friday in Bellingham, WA. I have a few more small items to get, including some sort of footwear. I want something water resistant that is slim enough to fit in my bike’s basket pedals. My search has been unsuccessful thus far.

I’m considering this adventure a baby foray into the world of bike touring. I have researched an amazing amount of gear and, with a limited budget, I’ve managed to get some good entry level stuff. I went with Ortlieb Classic Backpacker panniers because they are water proof- perfect for the Pacific Northwest. The attach easily to the rear bike rack and are fairly roomy. They also have attachable shoulder straps. I have an older lightweight North Face synthetic fill sleeping bag that compresses to a decent size in a compression sack. I plan to put the sleeping bag in one of the panniers. I bought a Sea To Summit dry bag to place my REI half-dome tent and Alps self inflating sleeping mat. That will be strapped to the rear bike rack.

This is my pack list, for those that may find this information useful in the future:


  • Sea To Summit super concentrated pack size laundry detergent
  • Dr. Bronner’s peppermint Magic-All-In-One liquid soap
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, travel sized dental floss, and deodorant
  • nail clippers, comb, eye glass cleaning cloth (good for camera lens, too)
  • Backpacking bath wipes for those days showers are not available.
  • Dramamine, Zyrtec and Air Bourne
  • Sea To Summit personal pack towel


  • Hot Chilly double layer thermal leggings (recommended for the ocean going vessels)
  • 3 pairs smart wool socks
  • 3 tee shirts
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 pair North Face Khaki interchangeable cargo pants / shorts
  • 3 pair quick drying hiking underwear, 2 bras, one pair of lightweight yoga pants for sleepwear
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 longsleeved Gortex thermal pullover
  • REI heavy duty Rain jacket
  • Wool hat, gloves and scarf

Bike Stuff:

  • multi-tool, extra tube, patch kit and tire levers
  • small tire pump
  • Assorted head and rear lights
  • fingerless bicycle gloves and helmet
  • 2 U-locks and 2 cable locks
  • 2 bungee cords


  • duct tape (to secure tent to ferry deck)
  • small wilderness first aid kit
  • pepper spray
  • headlamp
  • 2 roles of quarters (laundry)
  • 2 Cameras (pocket point N shoot, SLR) + 3 SD cards
  • cell phone
  • chargers for phone and camera batteries
  • travel guide, map and itineraries
  • Leatherman
  • 2 bandannas
  • Binoculars  (borrowed)
  • 1 paperback book (I have three I’m choosing from. It’s a difficult decision as it will set the tone for the trip)
  • Journal and pen
  • wallet containing cash, enhanced ID, debit card and credit card

I will be buying food throughout the trip, taking it aboard the Ferry so I don’t have to buy expensive meals from the cafeterias. I have a small food bag that bulk items will go in, like nuts,  dehydrated fruits and chocolate. Yes, fuck yeah chocolate! My bike has two water bottle holders so I will be using those as well. I may stuff in a pair of Toms for comfortable boat shoes as well, providing I have room. I’m trying to keep packing to a minimum so I actually have extra room should I want to return with any Alaskan treasures. I’m probably forgetting stuff on my list but I think I have everything I will truly need. Besides, it’s not like I’m going to be in the middle of the wilderness. Every port I stop in has grocery and outfitting stores.

Four more days!

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